Diversity has been written into the DNA of American life; any institution that lacks a rainbow array has come to seem diminished if not diseased.”

Joe Klein, New York Times Political Columnist

Diversity and Inclusion in the 21st Century

Companies of the 21st century will need to understand the benefits of diversity and inclusion to remain competitive.  The ability to attract and retain a diverse workforce directly affects a company’s relevance to the market it serves. Diversity does more than improve culture; it affects your bottom line. Because a culture of inclusion is a valuable business asset, we have provided articles to help you understand and improve diversity and inclusion in your workplace.

What is Diversity?

Diversity is the joining of the unique characteristics that individuals possess into an enriched culture that benefits the whole group.  When we create this blend of traits in the workplace by hiring employees with diverse backgrounds and experiences, this is called workforce diversity.  Diversity characteristics can include national origin, language, race, color, disability, ethnicity, gender, age, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, socioeconomic status, veteran status, and family structures.

What is Inclusion?

When a corporate culture is developed that encourages diverse employees to contribute to and connect with the organization, this is called inclusion.  Creating a culture of inclusion involves an integrated approach.  The foundation for inclusion is built with a policy of flexibility and fairness that encourages all employees to participate.  However, policies are not enough by themselves.  When an organization seeks to improve performance by understanding and benefitting from the power of a diverse workforce, a culture of inclusion reaches its full potential. 

Benefits of Diversity and Inclusion

Diversity provides a competitive advantage in the workplace.  A recent study by the Corporate Executive Board, a private group comprised of 90% of the Fortune 500 companies, found that in a more diverse and inclusive workforce:

  • Individual effort improved by 12%
  • Retention improved by 70%
  • Team collaboration and commitment improved by almost 50%